The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which Christianity stands. Welsh New Testament scholar, C.H. Dodd, rightly stated, "The resurrection is the epicenter of [Christian] belief." Theologian, Gerald O'Collins, agrees: "In a profound sense, Christianity without the resurrection is not simply 'Christianity without its final chapter.' It is not Christianity at all." In short, if there is no resurrection, there is no Christianity.
Paul, author of a third of the New Testament, emphasized this axiom to the believers in Corinth: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (1 Corinthians 15:13-14)
Former atheist, and one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis, asserts, "Christianity, if false, is of no importance; and, if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."
So, we begin here - with the resurrection. For if Jesus really did rise from the dead, as the Bible says, Christianity, as Lewis said, is "of infinite importance."
While lecturing at the University of Uruguay, former atheist, Josh McDowell, was asked by a student, "Mr. McDowell, why don't you refute your faith?" He replied honestly, "I would except for one thing: I can't explain away the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
A former atheist hostile to Christianity, Lee Strobel set out to disprove Christianity. Holding a Masters degree from Yale and working as an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Strobel was confident he would succeed. But, alas, what his painstaking investigation revealed to him was this: the evidence overwhelmingly supports the truth of the resurrection and, hence, Christianity. Strobel later wrote, "In the face of the facts, [the arguments against the resurrection] have been impotent to put Jesus' body back into the tomb. They flounder, they struggle, they snatch at straws, they contradict themselves, they pursue desperate and extraordinary theories to try to account for the evidence. Yet, each time, in the end, the tomb remains vacant."
Ian Hutchinson taught in the department of Nuclear Engineering at MIT, eventually serving as the Head of that department from 2003-2009. He writes, "My Christian colleagues at MIT - and millions of other scientists worldwide - somehow think that a literal miracle like the resurrection of Jesus is possible. And we are following a long tradition. Today's widespread materialist view that events contrary to the laws of science just can't happen is a metaphysical doctrine, not a scientific fact."
S. Joshua Swamidass MD, PhD, is a physician, scientist, and Assistant Professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. He writes, "I am a scientist. Still, on Easter, I celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead about 2000 years ago... The final verdict, for me, is that the Resurrection makes sense through the lens of history. I find the Creator of all that science studies comes to us in this way. The evidence is compelling, but not definitive. Faith in Jesus is reasonable and is certainly not without evidence."
Cambridge-educated Sir Norman Anderson, having lectured at Princeton University and being offered a professorship for life at Harvard University, served as dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of London. After a lifetime of investigating the resurrection he summed up his position: "The empty tomb, then, forms a veritable rock on which all rationalistic theories [against] the resurrection dash themselves in vain."
Biblical scholar/theologian, Brooke Foss Westscott: "Taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection."
Historian/theologian, N.T. Wright: "The historical datum now before us is a widely held, consistently shaped belief: that Jesus of Nazareth was bodily raised from the dead."
Professor/author, Mike Licona: "I can tell you that in my six-year investigation of the resurrection of Jesus that resulted in my doctorate and in a more than 700-pages book, I tried to overturn every stone that I could, to a fault. And I came to the conclusion, after that study, that the evidence for Jesus' physical resurrection from the dead was, by far, the best historical explanation of the known and indisputable historical data."
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